Applying for jobs and internships is an essential part of college. They help build experience and learn about networking. But along with schoolwork and extracurricular activities, these big opportunities come with a big mental toll. PBS Newshour reported a study conducted by the American College Health Association that 48% of college students suffer from psychological stress, and 53% of college students feel lonely. Lastly, one in four had considered suicide.
Stress factors such as not having experience, not encountering helpful professionals, not finding an ideal position, or not hearing back from the institutions can leave students feeling discouraged and lost.
Freshman public health science major Matthew Adjodha explained his dilemma of feeling left out in more prominent campus career and internship fairs. He now searches for opportunities on his own with the support of his parents and the Public Health department.
“Better representation of different majors and different professional opportunities would be nice because currently, I think I can really tell…who the school…truly values being hired,” said Adjodha.
Internships help students build experience, but some internships require prior knowledge before applying.
“Some of them didn’t require too much experience, but discreetly, they would want someone who has experience, but it’s not said on the site or said firsthand,” said freshman public health science major Rachel Odumade.
Sophia Slaughenhoupt, a sophomore journalism major, is skeptical about applying because she did not involve herself as much in her freshman year and transferred her sophomore year from Fordham University.
“I didn't really do anything my freshman year…in terms of like journalism...it definitely makes me feel like, you know, I'm not doing enough,” said Slaughenhoupt Finding ways to balance schoolwork and time to focus on applications can help lower negative thoughts.
One technique students use to manage their time effectively is scheduling– balancing both school work and applications. Senior early childhood special education major Leslie Castro found scheduling a great way to balance her self-care regime, schoolwork, and applications.
“I would try to balance everything out of my life, scheduling it on my planner like this is what I have to get done today and that’s still something that I use now,” said Castro.
Odumade found scheduling time for schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and applying helped her be organized. “I would schedule [a] time where I do board stuff, or scheduled time where I apply for jobs and what to say in those…cover [letter] and resume,” said Odumade. Platforms like Indeed or LinkedIn specialize in finding opportunities such as internships or jobs. LinkedIn includes the benefit of networking.
“I used LinkedIn a lot to…just kind of build my portfolio or…resume,” said Slaughenhoupt. “I started looking for internships on indeed a bit, and definitely Karen Denny's…newsletter helps me to just like get some ideas.”
Professor and Director of Internship and Career Development at Philip Merrill College of Journalism Karen Denny provided these tips regarding cover letters and resumes:
They should be one page.
Contain no mistakes.
Be the best representation of your work.
Plan ahead the experience you need to get into the internship you want.
Network with professionals to reverse engineer what they had in their resume to land their job.
Keeping the cover letter and resume concise and informative will help the employer notice the necessary information in a timely fashion. “They can get a sense of you as a worker and feel like this person has the skills and experience to keep them in the yes pile as I go through applications,” said Denny.
Although the job/internship search brings a lot of doubt and stress, it is a necessary part of college. Learning how to market yourself to get the position will serve you well.
“The final thing I would say is most students are more qualified and better than they think they are,” said Denny.
Take a breath and take it one step at a time. Be involved in career centers or fairs for opportunities or involved in the community for the experience. Networking and expanding your resume will help.